As I understand it, Google is giving publishers two reasons to adopt this format. The first reason is that it has been carefully designed by their engineers to load quickly on mobile devices and connections, and is likely to outperform most existing mobile web sites. The second is that Google is offering to cache AMP content and serve it using their CDN, which is fast and has good geographical distribution. AMP is designed to fit the business model of for-profit publishers: the specification provides means for for publishers to put up paywalls, deliver advertising, and collect analytic data, even when the content is served from Google's CDN.
It is not entirely clear to me how AMP will influence search engine result pages (SERPs). Most people seem to think that Google intends to raise AMP content to the top of SERPs and push everything else down. Google may also provide some visual indication that non-AMP pages are liable to be slow on mobile connections. AMP is expected to debut on Google SERPs in late February.
Google has not (to my knowledge) explicitly threatened publishers with the prospect of declining traffic due to fewer search engine referrals, but external commentators seem to agree that these are the stakes. Googlers have reached out to us to evangelize AMP, gauge our interest, and answer any questions we may have.
My personal views on AMP are mostly negative, but I am (for the moment) keeping them to myself. I have attempted above to present AMP sympathetically, because I think it deserves a public hearing, and because I would like there to be a coordinated response to AMP from the Wikimedia movement that reflects the consensus of the community.
More specifically, I would like to see us answer the following questions:
- Should we adopt AMP?
- If "yes": how should we resource and prioritize the work that would be needed?
- If "no": do we have any feedback to give Google?
- What voice (if any) do we want to have in the ongoing design and standardization process for AMP?
Finally, there is also the issue of how to actually go about canvassing people's opinions. Should there be an RfC on Meta-Wiki, or a public discussion on IRC (or neither / both)?
I am tagging this with TechCom-RFC because I think TechCom has some good processes in place for announcing and conducting public discussions, and because there is a technical component to the discussion that would benefit from their input. But it is clear that the scope of the discussion goes beyond software architecture, and would therefore not be appropriate for the weekly RfC discussions.